Muslims Host Open House, Urge Dialogue

February 10, 2006

Source: Ottawa Sun

On February 10, 2006 the Ottawa Sun reported, "WITH VIOLENT protests continuing to erupt around the world over cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammed as a terrorist, a local Muslim leader wants to bring less heat and more light to a crisis that has pitted religious rights against free speech. Imam Gamal Solaiman will throw open the doors of the city's main mosque tomorrow afternoon and invite the public to listen to a talk about the life of Islam's revered prophet and why Muslims were so offended by the political caricatures published by European newspapers. 'Loyalty to him is considered loyalty to the religion itself,' said Solaiman of the revered teacher Muslims believe was chosen by Allah to hear and pass on the words of the Koran. 'It's the arrogance in response to the Muslim complaint -- that's what drives people mad,' said Solaiman... 'The trouble with our experience of this, the trouble with the western media, they forget about the cause and speak about the symptom. They forget what triggered that. No one speaks about it now, they only talk about the violent nature of the demonstration,' said Solaiman. Since outrage over the cartoons exploded last week, Canadian Muslim leaders have seized the opportunity to bridge the divide between Muslims and the larger community, who, despite the events of 9/11, still have little actual knowledge of Islam and its beliefs and are often guided by stereotypes."